Fredericksburg is famous for its colonial and Civil War history – but what about before that history? Decades of archaeological excavations at George Washington’s Ferry Farm have revealed millennia of human development and technology from pre-historic Native American Clovis spearpoints to 18th-century wig curlers and beyond. While our main focus rests on young George Washington’s story, nearly 25% of all artifacts ever found at Ferry Farm have actually been Native American in origin with many dating thousands of years into the past. Here are five cool ancient artifacts found at Ferry Farm…
Jasper Drill: The above is the tip of a jasper drill. It may have been adapted from a spear point, which was not uncommon. When a spear point broke or became too short from re-sharpening sometimes they were turned into other tools. This particular drill likely dates to around 8,000 BCE to 6,000 BCE.
Clovis Point: Also, jasper, this spear point (shown above) is our oldest artifact and dates to between 13,500 BCE – 11,000 BCE. To learn more about it, visit our previous blog post here.
Ground Stone Axes: These two axes (depicted above) were found together. They’re made of Catoctin metabasalt, which is also often called ‘greenstone’. They were in use from 3000 BCE – 1000 BCE.
Mystery Bead: This large partial bead (shown in the two photos above) is a bit of a conundrum. It’s made from non-local sandstone and is heavily weathered. To further the mystery, it was found with the stone axes discussed above and the chunkey stone discussed below, leaving us to believe these artifacts were part an amateur archaeologist’s collection and may not have been brought here by people indigenous to Virginia.
Chunkey Stone: The doughnut-shaped stone (in the above photo) is made from quartzite and is part of a game called chunkey which was invented around 600 CE. To learn more about our chunkey stone, check out our recent blog post here.
See these and other artifacts during ArchaeoFest: Exploring Ancient Techology at Ferry Farm this Saturday, October 26 from 10am-4pm. Enjoy a family-friendly day focused on early human technology! Scheduled demonstrations by members of EXARC, a global network of experimental archaeology professionals and other experts, include flint knapping, throwing spears using atlatls, making Viking glass beads, 18th century stone carving, and much more. Experimental Archaeology demonstrations begin at 11am. Dive into hands-on activities like an archaeological dig, see a sampling of the thousands of Native American artifacts excavated at Ferry Farm, and visit with members of the Patawomeck tribe. Admission is $9 for adults, $4.50 for students, and free for under age 6. To learn more, visit ferryfarm.org.